The last time the New York Islanders squared off against the Pittsburgh Penguins, They had started the season 4-0 and were on top of the Metropolitan Division, but it were the Pens who showed them who was still the team to beat. Since that 3-1 loss on October 8th, the Isles have gone 8-5 and are now in second place behind Pittsburgh. This even went on during the month of November, a month that only Isles fans used to dread about. In my opinion, the Isles are a better team than they were a month ago. A lot of maturing has occurred and with more practices and games with each other, the Islanders should be making bigger strides coming up this weekend as this is the first game of a home and home against the Pens.
To my knowledge, Islanders backup Chad Johnson gets the nod tonight in net. I like the move. Johnson can steal a game, especially in a place like Pittsburgh, but it also forces the team to play more of a solid puck possession game against the Pens. The Islanders must score on the powerplay when they get the chance. The last time these two teams played, the Isles went 0-7 and Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury allowed only one goal.
For the Pens, Fleury is looking for win number 300 against the Isles this weekend. In his last nine starts he has posted an 8-1 record 1.53 GAA with a .944 save percentage and four shutouts. Pascal Dupuis will miss a big chunk of the season due to a blood clot. The Penguins have the best goal differential in the NHL with 27. The Tampa Bay Lightning are second with 20. The Penguins have given up 35 goals in 17 games, the fewest in the NHL. The Penguins have also won 4 straight at home. The Penguins record against the Islanders in the CONSOL Energy Center is 9-3.
— Shannon Hogan (@Shannon_Hogan) November 21, 2014